Variations to “What’s in the Bag?”

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Variations to “What’s in the Bag?”

Note: Please read the post “What’s in the Bag?before reading this post:

As I wrote in the original “What’s in the Bag?” post, my students really enjoy this activity and they always ask to play it. However, as with any activities, it can get stale if you don’t vary it from time to time. To help keep this activity fresh for students, here are some ways that you can quickly and easily vary “What’s in the Bag?

1. One Question Per Student – Each student has to ask a question, before they can ask a second question.

  • This way, all students are involved and they have to listen to their peer’s questions, so they don’t repeat it.
  • Also, if you have a larger class, you can limit each student to just one question. Then, after each student has asked a question, the class has to guess what is in the bag.

2. The Teacher Guesses – The class knows what is in the bag and the teacher must guess.

  • As the teacher asks questions, the class must respond with the appropriate answer.
    (You can always coach them into repeating your question and then responding with a full answer/sentence.)

3. Multiple Bags – Divide the class in half! Each team has a bag and the teams ask each other the questions and respond appropriately.

  • This takes the teacher out of the middle (so to say). However, as the teacher, you are constantly monitoring and assisting the class as they ask each other questions and responding.
  • Note: Depending on your class, you can make this more of a competition also.
    • Make it where it is the first team to guess the item in the other team’s bag correctly, wins.

4. Individual Guesses – Although the whole class is asking questions, each student is trying to individually guess what is in the bag.

  • That is, at the end, instead of the whole class collaborating and agreeing on what item is in the bag, each individual gets to guess what is in the bag.
  • You can have go around and have them orally share their answer, or you can have them write it down. Then, after each student either tells you or writes their answer down, you reveal what is in the bag.
    • On a personal note, it is enjoyable to see all the different answers. It can be a good discussion in class to understand how and why your students guessed the item they did.

5. Every 5 Questions – Instead of waiting to guess at the end, after every 5 questions, have them guess!

  • Important Note: I would still implement a set number of questions and/or time frame. After each set of 5 questions, have them guess, but do NOT reveal or give away the answer! Still wait until the end (time frame / set number of total questions, e.g., 20) to have them give you their final class (or individual) answer!

    Students like to know if their initial guess – or any of them along the way – were correct!

WHITEBOARD OPTIONSYou can incorporate a whiteboard in this activity also!

1. Questions First – Before you start, give each student a whiteboard. Have the students write down a questions in the target language. Then, go around and have students hold up their whiteboard and orally ask the question on the board.

  • Note: Have students write down 3 – or any multiple number of – questions on their board. This helps avoid having multiple students with the same question.

2. Short Answer – As questions are asked, have students make a (short-hand) note/list of the answers. For example:

  • Big – Yes
  • Round – No
  • Blue – Can be

This is a good way for students to keep track of the questions and answers and have something to refer back to when you review the questions.

3. Individual Guesses (Whiteboard Style) – Like the variation above, students write down their individual guess on their whiteboard. Have them hold up their board and then you reveal what is in the bag.

Easy Variations:

  • Have student write down multiple (e.g. 3) guesses on their board instead of just one.
  • Students must draw the object/item that they think is in the bag.

Don’t forget! You can also use a whiteboard when doingEvery 5 Questions” (see above)!

I hope this helps and I hope you and your students enjoy the variations! Please let me know how it goes in the comment section below!

Mach’s gut!

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